387

Church of St. John 2: We already know from 15:33 that the sun

Old Hamburg, Nikolaifleet, 1989
Old Hamburg, Nikolaifleet, 1989

returns after the ninth hour. The God-forsakenness of Jesus from 15:34 is cancelled in 15:38: the temple, the earthly residence of God, indicates the mourning, the compassion of God.

Just as the Jew tears his garment as a sign of mourning, or at least visibly tears a piece of it, so, as a sign of divine mourning, there is a huge tear in the temple curtain, the earthly garment of God.

The grief is so great that the extremely precious fabric tears in full length and becomes worthless.

386

The Passion Tradition of the Church of St. John: Mark contrasted

Old Hamburg, Nikolaifleet, 1989
Old Hamburg, Nikolaifleet, 1989

the constant descent over many stations to the absolute earthly low with the Passion Tradition of the Christians of St. John with the ascent again.

The restoration of the earthly honor of Jesus, 15:38-47, is followed by the restoration of the supernatural glory of Jesus, 16,1-8. Just as Jesus sinks lower and lower in his descent and his tormentors are of lower and lower rank, the ascent runs in reverse order from the lower to the higher rank.

385

Church of St. James 3: Then hope sprouts up again for Jesus. Pilate

Hamburg, Katharinenkirche
Hamburg, Katharinenkirche

holds him innocent, 15:2-5, and the people ask for a show of mercy for the feast, 15:8.

But hope is short-lived; Jesus’ suffering continues, first the mental: the crowd is incited and turns away from Jesus, 15:13. Pilate is cowardly and submits to the will of the crowd, 15:15.

Then follows the physical suffering: Jesus is condemned, mocked, beaten, crucified. Also the passers-by mock him, at last the fellow crucified. Even nature (the sun) turns away, 15:16-33.

One cannot sink any lower. Jesus dies, 15:37. End of the Passion, end of the Jewish-Christian part of the Passion.

384

Church of St. James 2: In Gethsemane the disciples James, John and Peter,

Hamburg, University
Hamburg, University

the progenitors of the Jewish Christians, the Baptist Christians, and the Petrine Christians, are of no help to Jesus, 14:32-42. When Jesus is taken captive, all the disciples flee, 14:50.

The Jewish authorities also oppose Jesus, 14:53-65, and while Jesus confesses, Peter denies, 14:66-72. Jesus cannot be arrested until the disciples flee, he cannot be handed over to the Gentiles until Peter has also turned away.

To the physical suffering of Jesus comes the spiritual suffering, because no one makes the attempt to help him. Everyone only tries to save his own skin.

383

With the Passion tradition of the Church of St. James, 14:26-15:37,

Hamburg, City Hall
Hamburg, City Hall

Mark narrates Jesus’ suffering as an expulsion from the people of God, consisting of the disciples and the Jewish authorities, and from the human community in general.

If at first it seemed that only Judas would leave the solidarity with Jesus, Jesus now announces the apostasy of all disciples, 14:27, even Peter will deny Jesus, 14:31.

382

In the Passion tradition of the Petrine Christians, 14:1-25,

Hamburg, City Hall
Hamburg, City Hall

the climax and conclusion of Jesus’ ministry among the disciples are shaped. The loss of Jesus’ sovereignty continues here. He is less and less master of the events.

The plan of the high priests takes shape, 14:1-2. At the anointing in Bethany Jesus is more object than acting subject, 14:3-9. The betrayal of Judas, 10-11, sets the divine plan of salvation in motion, which Jesus does not want to oppose.

The Lord’s Supper with the Twelve, 14:12-25, is the climax of Jesus’ activity among the disciples, but also the last pericope in which the disciples hold to Jesus.

381

Passion 2: In Mark 1:4ss John is the witness,

Hamburg, At the Binnenalster
Hamburg, At the Binnenalster

now it will be the disciples. The Holy Spirit prophesied in 1:8 will enable the disciples to speak.

The death and resurrection, anticipated in baptism, will affect the whole world in the great tribulation: it must perish in order to be recreated, 13:14-20.

The temptation of Jesus corresponds to the temptation of the church by false Christs. The motif of the four disciples is taken up again by the elect from the four directions, 13,27.

380

The second main part of the Gospel of Mark, the passion narrative, begins

Hamburg, At the Außenalster
Hamburg, At the Außenalster

according to the transcription, like the first part, begins with an overture (13:3-37), in which motifs from the overture to part 1 are taken up again.

The four disciples Peter, Andrew, James and John are mentioned in 13:3. The keyword arche (=beginning, foundation) from 1:1 returns in 13:8.

The question when? from 13,4 had already been answered in 1,15: the time is now fulfilled.

378

Judea and Jerusalem 3: From Mark 11:12 on Jesus is on bad terms with all groups.

Hamburg, city towers, 1989
Hamburg, city towers, 1989

with all groups: his own followers (irritation, 11:14), the high priests, 11:18, the elders, 11:28, all Jews, 12:1ss, Pharisees and Herodians, 12:13, the Sadducees, 12:18, the scribes, 12:28-40, the rich, 12:41.

In the end, only the poor widow remains – at the bottom of the social hierarchy – with whom Jesus has not yet broken. Jesus becomes a public non-person. End of part 1.

377

descent of JesusJudea and Jerusalem 2: From 10:46 to 15:37 Mark portrays the descent of Jesus

GDR border installations near Büchen, 11.11.1989
GDR border installations near Büchen, 11.11.1989

from public undivided approval at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, 11:9-10, to death and general contempt, 15:28-37.

At the end even nature turns away from him, 15:33. At the beginning Jesus is still sovereign leader, he himself makes sure that he is seen, 10:46ss.

376

The tradition of Judea and Jerusalem:

Return journey to East Berlin, 11.11.1989
Return journey to East Berlin, 11.11.1989

The section concerning Judea deals with internal problems of the Christians. The claim to leadership of the Anabaptist Christians (John) and the Jewish Christians (James) is rejected, 10:35-45.

The Jerusalem surrender of the James Christians leads to the outward climax of Jesus’ ministry in the entry into Jerusalem, 11:1-11, and in the cleansing of the temple, 11:12-26.

Jesus’ ministry is summarized from a Jewish Christian perspective: Jesus stands for a renewed, purified Judaism.

375

Church of St. Peter 4: The final point of the passage

Berlin Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse, 12.11.1989
Berlin Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse, 12.11.1989

however, is the healing, again quite earthly, which succeeds only with Jesus’ help, 9:14-29. The conclusion Mark draws: Without Jesus, the disciples (the apostles, the Church) are helpless.

In the 3rd section, the special tradition of the Petrine Christians, there are two narratives with the call for reconciliation among the competing original Christian groups, 9:33-41.

The Petrine Christians as the strongest original Christian group are thus exhorted to recognize the other groups as equals.

374

Church of St. Peter 3: After the confession of the Messiah,

Berlin Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse, 12.11.1989
Berlin Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse, 12.11.1989

8:27-30, the suffering as a characteristic of the Messiah and of Christians (a heritage from the Jewish-Christian tradition) must be brought home to them, 8:31-9:1, before the transformation of Jesus into the heavenly Messiah can form the climax of this section and of the whole Gospel book up to 16:8.

Mark places the transformation of Jesus, 9:2-13, exactly in the mathematical center of the Gospel and thus shows the importance of this event. Jesus, however, is not flanked by angels, but by figures of the Jewish prehistory, Moses and Elijah.

373

Church of St. Peter 2: The 2nd section begins again with a feeding miracle, 8:1-9.

Berlin Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse, 12.11.1989
Berlin Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse, 12.11.1989

with a feeding miracle, 8:1-9, followed by a demand for a sign from the Pharisees, 8:10-13, and the break with Jesus’ opponents.

The turning to the disciples, from 8:27 on, is more detailed this time and culminates in Peter’s confession of the Messiah. Mark underlines the importance of what follows by inserting a healing of the blind (the same happens before the entry into Jerusalem 10:46-52).

372

The tradition of the church of St. Peter: The 1st section varies the theme

Berlin Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse, 12.11.1989
Berlin Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse, 12.11.1989

of the triumphant Jesus. The natural wonders of the feeding of the 5,000 and the walk on the water open the narratives, with Jesus’ walk on the water showing his supernatural powers and depriving any natural explanation of the feeding miracle of its justification, 6:30-52.

The subsequent healings by touching the hem of the garment demonstrate Jesus’ special powers, 6:53-56.

The discussion of pure and impure with critical remarks on the formal religiosity of Judaism, 7:1-23, leads to Jesus’ healings in the extra-Jewish area of Tyros and in the Decapolis, 7:24-37. Jesus, according to the point of this 1st section, is sent to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews.